UC Irvine Attempts To Finish League Slate Undefeated
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11_WWP Release No. 12
UC Irvine looks to close out an unblemished conference schedule as the 4-0 Anteaters make the short trek to Long Beach State for a Thursday night encounter under the lights. The Anteaters have already wrapped up the Big West regular season title and No. 1 seed for next week's tournament.
Regular Season Champion UC Irvine Looks To Finish Conference Slate Undefeated
UC Irvine clinched the outright Big West regular season title last week with a pair of home victories against Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara. The Anteaters (18-8, 4-0) are the No. 1 seed in next week’s Big West Tournament hosted by UCSB.
The Anteaters now turn their attention to achieving a first among Big West women’s water polo programs – finishing the league ledger with an undefeated record. To accomplish that feat, UCI must win at Long Beach State on Thursday. The two teams split their previous two meetings this season. On Feb. 13, UCI eked out an 8-7 victory at the Triton Invitational. Two weeks later on Feb. 27, the 49ers invaded UCI’s home pool and pulled out a 6-5 overtime win as part of the UC Irvine Invitational.
This is the second Big West regular season title in three years for UC Irvine.
Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara finished in a tie for second at 3-2 in the conference standings. The Matadors own the tiebreaker and are the No. 2 tournament seed based on an 8-7 win against UCSB on Apr. 9.
Pacific owns the No. 4 seed. Long Beach State will capture the No. 5 seed with a win against UCI in the regular season finale. A loss to the Anteaters drops the 49ers to the No. 6 seed. UC Davis will be the No. 5 or No. 6 seed depending on the UCI-LBSU outcome.
UC Santa Barbara Women’s Water Polo Vacates Four Victories
The UC Santa Barbara women’s water polo program must vacate four victories due to the use of an ineligible player this season.
The ineligible player competed in UCSB’s matches against Cal State Northridge (Feb. 26), St. Francis (Mar. 4), La Verne (Mar. 4) and Occidental (Mar. 12). Those wins have been removed from UCSB’s overall record, which falls from 19-10 to 15-10 on the year.
The Feb. 26 matchup against Cal State Northridge occurred during the UC Irvine Invitational and was considered a neutral site non-conference contest. UCSB’s Big West league record and seeding for the upcoming conference tournament will be unaffected.
UCI Remains In Top 10
UC Irvine is No. 10 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association poll for the third straight week. Winners of four straight and eight of their last nine matches, the Anteaters are approaching the 20-win plateau and need two more wins to get there.
The remainder of Big West programs are ranked in succession as UC Santa Barbara (No. 14), Cal State Northridge (No. 15), Long Beach State (No. 16), Pacific (No. 17) and UC Davis (No. 18) are represented in the poll.
Big West Owns Automatic Qualification To NCAA Championship
The Big West fulfilled a two-year waiting period to earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship, meaning the winner of this year’s conference tournament will receive one of eight slots in the national tournament. The third annual Big West Tournament is set for April 29-May 1 in Santa Barbara.